Gold Star Dad

The thoughts of a father who has lost a son to war

The Wait

Posted by fozzynok on 08/08/2009

One of the most memorable and emotional moments on the first day was when I was sitting at the computer in my room send or writing emails and from the living room I hear people excitedly shouting  “Pokey!” ”Pokey!”… In that instant I thought that maybe there was some horrible mistake! Maybe they heard something new? Maybe he was really alive? I practically killed myself running to the living room only to discover that my son’s picture was on the TV screen and that the local news was announcing his death in Iraq. The shift in emotional gears was a really hard to handle on that one.

By now the news and phone calls from others had hit the locals somehow and people who knew my son on a personal level started to show up at the door. A local high school teacher and vice principal was one of the first. He was almost as emotional as we were. He and my son had a special relationship throughout his high school years and when my son was home on leave he would visit this man’s classes and talk to his students. My son’s death hit him very hard. He was a strong man and really watched our backs tenaciously and headed off the media and then ran interference for us for most of the week.  He tried to give a letter that my son had written to him and his class a few times from Iraq, but we told him that the letter was his, we of course asked for a photocopy, but we would never dream of taking the letter from him.

The number of people who visited my home was rather shocking, a lot of them really did not say much, some just came a dropped cards, flowers or even food then left without even knocking on the door, as the first few days ticked of and I started to be able to sleep in what resembled cat naps they became for me a steady stream of nameless, faceless grey people who I had little to no idea of who they were. I do sometimes feel really badly about that. The amount of food was pretty shocking, the outpouring was touching, but really I don’t think I ate much in the first few days. There were many cards and letters and food and things dropped of by friends neighbors and complete strangers. One gentleman dropped off a wrought iron cross, it was very touching to get something like that. He didn’t know that he knew us until my wife opened the door… there was a lot of that. My wife is really well known and has met many people in passing in her job as a waitress at a local old fashioned ice cream shop. Many people thought that they were coming to give respects to a stranger… only to be forced to realize that there are real people who are going through this.

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